News

China reports record coronavirus death toll


Matt Woodley


13/02/2020 4:29:00 PM

Hubei province health officials confirm 14,840 new cases and 242 deaths over a 24-hour period, more than double the previous one-day record of 103 fatalities.

Doctor checking on a coronavirus patient.
The number of cases in China has skyrocketed. (Image: AAP)

Hopes that the situation in mainland China had improved were dashed by the new figures, which were in part due to new methodology adopted by officials in Hubei province for counting infections.
 
According to the ABC, it was not immediately clear how the new methodology had affected the results, nor why the death toll rose so sharply.
 
Earlier in the week, Chinese health authorities had reported the lowest number of new coronavirus cases in a fortnight, a day after leading epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan predicted the epidemic would end by April.
 
However, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus responded by warning any apparent slowdown in the spread of virus should be viewed with ‘extreme caution’, as it ‘could still go in any direction’.
 
The overall death toll has now reached more than 1350, while the total number of cases is above 60,000 and still rising.
 
Despite the steep increase, cases in Australia have remained steady at 15, while only two deaths have been reported outside mainland China – one each in Hong Kong and the Philippines respectively.
 
Earlier, Dale Fisher, head of the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network coordinated by the WHO, warned from Singapore – which has recorded 50 cases so far – that the outbreak is likely to continue to spread.
 
‘It has spread to other places where it’s the beginning of the outbreak,’ he said.
 
‘In Singapore, we are at the beginning.’
 
Meanwhile, the head of the WHO’s emergency program, Dr Mike Ryan, has said it is too early ‘to predict the beginning, the middle or end of the epidemic’.
 
The number of cases also continues to multiple in the largest cluster outside mainland China, with at least 175 of the 3700 passengers on the Princess Diamond cruise ship infected – including 12 Australians.
 
The ship has been quarantined off the Japanese port of Yokohama since 3 February, with passengers describing the situation as ‘very bad’.
 
Australian law student Bianca D’Silva, who is currently being treated in a Japanese hospital having contracted the virus, told Today the experience had been ‘scary and shocking’.
 
‘We drove two hours away from the port and when we arrived at the hospital there were all these doctors and nurses running around. It was scary,’ she said.
 
‘They put me in like a wheelchair and put plastic – sort of like a bubble – around it. And then they were just wheeling me everywhere.
 
‘It is scary. You don’t know what is happening.’
 
Ms D’Silva’s mother Suzanne believes she passed the virus onto her daughter, having initially presented to the ship’s medical centre after feeling sick with fever and aches when the ship was first quarantined.
 
A doctor reportedly tested her for flu and the results came back negative.
 
‘I said, “Oh, does that mean it is the virus?” And [the doctor] said, “Well, I’m not equipped to test you for coronavirus so at the moment we just treat you on antibiotics”,’ she told Today.
 
‘So then I said, “I will get my husband and two children, can you please have a look at them and probably treat them with antibiotics too”, which he did.
 
‘So I wasn’t tested for coronavirus at all. And I think I had it and I probably still have it. And I think now I have passed it on to Bianca and probably my husband and son as well, but we are waiting for the test results.’
 
Ms D’Silva described being sick with the virus as being similar to ‘your everyday cold’. She has reportedly since recovered.
 
The RACGP has more information on coronavirus available on its website.
 
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Dr Nicola Behne-Smith   19/02/2020 4:55:01 PM

"So I wasnt tested for the corona virus at all..." SERIOUSLY??????? And now to come here apparently clear without proper documentation of infection or full quarantine duration and clear of virus??

Perhaps I misread this....